Máni Orrason released his debut Repeating Patterns in 2015. Since then, he travelled the world, fought with his demons and – of course – played live gigs. He turned a difficult in his life into I Woke Up Waiting.
The album is an honest, autobiographical and tale of searching for one’s identity, fighting with one’s demons, depression, the constant feeling of unfulfillment and anxiety. Orrason’s expressive voice is filled with emotions and one could truly agree he sings his heart out. The vocalist somehow stowed so much in only 9 songs it’s understandable it took more time to create the album.
Being a fan of The Beatles and The Smiths (and playing the former at his shows), Orrason knows how to combine emotional, sometimes hypersensitive lyrics with powerful sound. Or is it just his style of writing? Nonetheless, it’s impressive to hear the progress he made. Plain, yet well-thought arrangements move to the core. As good as it was, his debut seemed fractionally inconsistent. More conscious writing and composing made the second album a coherent work of art. Orrason understands completely that music isn’t just a background for storytelling, but a very substantial to the album’s reception medium of expression. Music on I Woke Up Waiting brings up the best of classic rock, comprising brilliant melodies and fine sound. There is no unnecessary effects, just guitars, piano, drums and sometimes a violin. I Am Hollow is a very effective opening track to such an emotional album. Mother’s Milk wonderfully connotes with country music, mainly due to the use of an acoustic guitar and a violin. The compelling narrative in Let Me Tell You Stories, the expressive singing in You’re Acting Like A Fool, the admirable violin in Always Remembered or Burned My Lungs Dry or a sad confession in Didn’t Feel Love, it all creates a very special climate of melancholy and sadness. Respect such a talent But the most moving and compelling element of the whole album is it’s title track with poignant, somehow bitter and extremely sincere lyrics and a delicate sound of violin which makes one shiver.
As hard as it is to tell a story such truthful as the story behind I Woke Up Waiting is, Máni Orrason succeeded in doing so. He progressed as a musician and luckily recorded a superb, very coherent album. These gripping and touching melodies and lyrics really enraptures.